The Melk Man delivered another quality season where he did a little bit of everything, but nothing truly outstanding. The .296 average was a nice jump from 2015 and he drove in 86 runs, made possible by hitting in the middle of the lineup all season. Last year, the power came from the left side (11 of 14 homers) and the better average came from the right (.322 vs .289), but historically the left side has been the better of the two for both. At this stage of his career, Melky Cabrera is very stable in his skills but is a very boring veteran. The speed is gone, but he can contribute in the other three counting categories and hit for a solid average. There is safety in boredom, and Cabrera should be there late in the draft as a fallback option.
Cabrera started in left field Saturday and went 0-for-3 against the Indians. He's hitting just .220 (11-for-50) with a .544 OPS this spring. Despite the low average, Cabrera will be the White Sox's starting left fielder to open the season. The question remains for how long. As a veteran on a rebuilding team, Cabrera joins Jose Quintana, David Robertson and Todd Frazier as veterans the White Sox can flip for desperately needed young position prospects.
Cabrera enters the 2017 season with one year remaining on his contract and could be a trade chip for the rebuilding White Sox. The offseason trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton announced to the world that Chicago is in rebuild mode, so it's natural to look at other veterans like Cabrera, whose team-friendly contract may draw interest. At this time, he's not blocking any top outfield prospect, so there's a good chance the 32-year-old outfielder opens the season as the team's starting left fielder.
Cabrera went 1-for-4 with a three-run homer in Tuesday's loss at Philadelphia. Cabrera drove in Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu with a long ball off Phillies starter Jake Thompson in the third inning. The clean-up hitter matched last season's total of 12 homers with this effort, and is just one RBI short of the 77 he managed in the last campaign. He has gone yard twice in the last five games after doing so only once between Jul. 20 and Sept. 15.
Cabrera went 3-for-6 with three RBI in a 11-4 victory over the Twins on Friday. The outfielder has four multi-hit games in the last 10 contests. During that time, he has five extra-base hits and 10 RBI. Cabrera is 5-for-11 (.455) in the last two games. Overall, he is slashing .294/.344/.438 with nine home runs, 64 RBI and 53 runs this season.
Cabrera (illness) is in the lineup Thursday against the Twins, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Cabrera sat out Wednesday with an illness, but will return to action Thursday against Ervin Santana and the Twins. Cabrera is hitting .291/.341/.436 for the year, but has gone just 8-for-39 (.205) over the last 14 games.